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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Pin-tailed Whydah

Male Pin-tailed Whydah in breeding plumage

Afrikaans name: Koningrooibekkie

A male Pin-tailed Whydah in breeding plumage. Taken in iMfolozi Game Reserve.

Photo © Steven Herbert

Vidua macroura

This interesting little bird is found across virtually all of South Africa. Beyond our borders it occurs in a number of sub-Saharan countries.

In some areas it is a common bird in gardens and is particularly obvious during the breeding season. They can be a pest as they try to chase away all other birds from their territory. During this time the male Pin-tailed Whydah seems to have an unlimited supply of energy as it courts females and chases away other birds.

Male Pin-tailed Whydah's are handsome birds during the breeding season. Non-breeding males and females are more drab. They are brown with dark streaks on the head and pinkish red bills.

Non-breeding males are about 12 cm in length. During the breeding season his length is 34 cm with his long tail.

During the breeding season the male can often be seen trying to court females. He flies in front of her bobbing up and down. He is quite persistent.

Breeding males are also very territorial and will aggressively chase rivals away.

A female Pin-tailed Whydah

Photo © Steven Herbert

These birds are parasitic breeders. Their main host is the Common Waxbill but other Waxbills are also affected.

Pin-tailed Whydah's feed on seed and grain.

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References and further reading

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Year Published: 1983 - Page: 321

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1959 - Page: 34

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 34

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 115

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 218

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Year Published: 1992 - Page: 118

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Year Published: - Page: 220

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 270

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 82

Common Birds of the North Coast - Author: Bing Comrie - Year Published: 2005 - Page: 76

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 224

Geoff Lockwood's Garden Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Geoff Lockwood - Year Published: - Page: 47

Ian Sinclair's Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Year Published: 1988 - Page: 312

Newman's Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Year Published: 1984 - Page: 432

Newman's Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Year Published: 2000 - Page: 432

Newman's Garden Birds - Author: Ken Newman - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 122

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southern Africa - 2nd edi - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 413

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Year Published: 1949 - Page: 361

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 587

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Year Published: 1981 - Page: 599

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 767

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 766

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 392

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 426

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 150

The Birds of South Africa - Author: Hazel Stokes - Year Published: 1979 - Page: 47

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 184

List of South African Birds

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